Twenty one years ago, Sep 23, 1988, Jose Canseco achieved a record in major league baseball history as the first player to steal 40 bases and hit 40 home runs. In the eight or so years since his retirement from MLB, he also admitted to anabolic steroid use, has graced the public with a tell-all memoir and broadened his arena of athletic interests to include boxing and mixed martial arts. It is disheartening to witness high-hype antics from a former professional athlete that appear to almost mock these athletic pursuits. While I am not a fan of either boxing or MMA, I am quite certain that those athletes that participate, do so with an enormous level of personal commitment and skill.
One of the reasons I love baseball is the thick link between history and the American past time. The historical path through the ages of baseball follows the story of our evolving culture. Fans love ballparks that give us a glimpse of the earlier eras of the game. We love the vintage jerseys and caps. We wonder about the integrity of the recorded achievements of players in this era of the escalating slugging percentage. Or do we love it? I can’t quite decide.